The Maine Health Care Association will honor 34 residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state Friday, as part of the state’s Remember ME photography recognition program.

The people to be honored range in age from 61 to 107, according to Nadine Grosso, vice president and director of communications for the association. They include decorated war heroes and community leaders such as teachers, nurses, journalists, volunteers, homemakers and small-business owners.

Maine’s first lady Ann LePage is scheduled to make opening remarks and to present the honorees with certificates of lifetime achievement in the Hall of Flags at the State House, beginning at 10 a.m.

The exhibit honoring the residents includes black and white photographs — current and from their youth — and short biographies of their lives. The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to Grosso, the primary purpose of Remember ME is to salute the people who have “spent the best years of their lives supporting their families, building their communities and serving their state and country.”

She added, “After giving to others all their lives, they now depend on us for their daily medical and social care and we take that responsibility very seriously.” The photo tribute and recognition ceremony is “our way of remembering them and saying thank you,” Grosso said.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of the program, bringing the total number of individuals recognized to 400 statewide.

In Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties, the people being recognized are:

Ernest K. Bickford, Sandy River Center, Farmington

Bickford is a graduate of Livermore High School and received an

accounting degree at Auburn School of Commerce. Before beginning his accounting career, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served two years in Korea and Japan.

He and his wife Gloria raised five children in Farmington. He worked at Maine Dowel in Farmington for 31 years until its closing. Shortly thereafter, he worked as an auditor for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

He is a cancer survivor of more than 25 years and a lifelong volunteer, serving

as a freelance tax preparer, hospice volunteer for Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice and a member of the Franklin Memorial Hospital cancer support team.

Bertram Davis, Maine Veterans’ Home, South Paris

Davis was born April 12, 1919, in Lynn, Mass., and joined the U.S. Navy before finishing high school.

In 1940, the USS Selfridge was reassigned to Pearl Harbor. That ship was moored on battleship row where Davis was a 22-year-old machinist’s mate 2nd class. As the Japanese bombed the harbor, Davis volunteered to take out a whale boat and pick up survivors floundering in the water. He made multiple trips; some soldiers lived, some died.

Davis earned eight battle stars and served almost 20 years in the Navy, re-enlisting three times. In 2001, Davis shared his experience with National Geographic and his story was featured in a television documentary on Pearl Harbor.

Fred Goldrup, Clover Living Center, Auburn

Goldrup, a former wood-fiber worker, volunteered for 56 years as “Taurus the Clown,” marching in parades all over the state, including the first Moxie Festival parade in 1984. He was one of the key proponents of the bill to make Moxie the official drink of Maine.

Quick to share a joke, or a bit of personal philosophy, Goldrup encourages others to “look for the good when bad things happen.”

For example, he said, “I used to cuss people out for leaving shopping carts in parking spaces at the store. Now I bless them because when I get out of my car, my cart is already there for me.”

In 1981, as a volunteer DJ, Goldrup was approached by WXRV to fill a Saturday morning time slot. He spun records from his own valuable collection, earning him the handle “Fred the Collector.”

Carmen Mercier, The Chapman House, Auburn

Mercier graduated from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in 1951 and worked in various departments at St. Mary’s Hospital and at International Paper.

After taking time off to start a family, Mercier returned to work as the first occupational health nurse at Pioneer Plastics. There, she instituted several safety programs and started pre-employment physicals, eye and hearing exams and drug testing.

She volunteered for the United Way and served on the appropriation committees of various organizations in the Lewiston-Auburn area, including serving three years as a commissioner on the Auburn Housing Authority board.

Duncan Slade, Market Square Health Care Center, South Paris

Born in Atlanta, Ga., on April 3, 1918, Slade moved with his family to the south side of Chicago and served the poor and unfortunate under the watchful eye of his minister father during the Great Depression.

Four months before Pearl Harbor, Slade entered the U.S. Marine Corps, reaching the rank of major and earning a Distinguished Flying Cross as a pilot in the South Pacific. He logged 1,200 hours flying supplies in the Solomon Islands.

Well-known locally as an established painter and artist, Slade taught at Oxford Hills Junior High School from 1974-1983 and was nominated for Teacher of the Year in 1983 for inspiring students to achieve beyond their own expectations.

He holds seven patents connected to his 25-year career at UniRoyal. He received the Best of Show at the Norway Art Show in 1979 and Best of Show in Portland in 1989.

Paul Sproul, Orchard Park Rehabilitation & Living Center, Farmington

Sproul is a twin, born next-to-last in a family of 11 children. When his father died in 1938, Sproul was 6 years old. He quickly started helping his family by delivering newspapers for the Kennebec Journal and bread for the Cushman bakery.

After earning his bachelor’s degree at Farmington State Teachers College in 1959, Sproul taught upper-level elementary school classes for 25 years in Wilton, Jay, and Farmington. He was also the principal in Wilton for a few years.

While serving in the U.S. Air Force, he developed a passion for coaching and went on to a 50-year career of refereeing basketball games in Franklin County. In 2006, the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials presented him with a plaque commemorating his service as a basketball referee at Mt. Blue High School.

Ruth Margaret Wood, Russell Park Rehab & Living Center, Lewiston

Wood graduated from Lewiston High School in 1943 and from Central Maine General Hospital with a registered nurse diploma. As a member of the Cadet Nurse Corps in 1944, the government supplied the uniforms, monthly stipend and books with the stipulation that the nurses would stay in essential nursing during the duration of World War II.

After the war, Wood worked nights on the maternity ward for 20 years and was trained in obstetrical anesthesia.

She also helped launch the DFD Russell Medical Center in 1975, following the death of the area’s only physician at the time, Dr. Daniel Frank Davis Russell. Wood served as the first vice president of the center, and sat on the board of directors.


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